Omega-3 Supplements Help Prevent Skin Cancer
Researchers at The University of Manchester report the results of the first clinical trial which examined the effects of omega-3 fish oil on skin immunity to cancer, stating that taking regular doses of fish oil may protect against skin cancer. Previous studies on laboratory animals have suggested that dietary fish oils could reduce sunlight-induced immunosuppression or suppression of the body’s ability to fight skin cancer.
The study, which was recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was funded by the Association for International Cancer Research. Lead researcher Lesley Rhodes, Professor of Experimental Dermatology from the Photobiology Unit Dermatology Centre at the University, and colleagues evaluated the effects of taking omega-3 supplements on 79 healthy volunteers. A number of participants took 4 grams of the supplement (equivalent to 1 ½ servings of fatty fish) daily and were then exposed to a special light machine for 8, 15 or 30 minutes equivalents of summer midday sun in Manchester. Other volunteers took placebo before being subjected to light exposure.
The results showed that immunosuppression was lower by 50% in participants who took the supplements and were exposed to 8 and 15 minutes of light. No effects were observed in people who received 30 minutes of light. The authors believe that omega-3 provides some protection against skin cancer but they stress that it does not take the place of adequate physical protection and the use of sunscreen. Previous studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids have many health benefits and the current study supports its role in protecting the skin from damage that can lead to cancer.
Manchester University. Taking omega-3 supplements may help prevent skin cancer, new study finds. ScienceDaily.